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February 2018 - Volume 18, Number 2

Greetings from Food Label News!

We say hello to food labelers and goodbye to partially hydrogenated oils (PHOs) in food products as the deadline for reformulating products with PHOs looms. Read the lead article in this issue to learn more. This month we also help an astute reader find the information that is missing in the Code of Federal Regulations. Stay connected for updates and informative discussion in the Food Label Community on LinkedIn. There’s always an interesting topic on deck.

In this issue:


Karen C. Duester, President, Food Consulting Company

Karen C. Duester, President, Food Consulting Company

Partially Hydrogenated Oils – Gone for Good?

For the American public and food labelers alike its time to banish partially hydrogenated oils (PHOs) from the foods we eat. The June 18, 2018 deadline for reformulating products that contain PHOs is rapidly approaching, much to the delight of the many citizens who spoke out about PHO health risks.

As background, FDA determined that PHOs, the primary dietary source of industrially-produced trans fatty acids are no longer generally recognized as safe (GRAS) ingredients for use in human food. This conclusion made in June 2015 was based on scientific evidence and findings from expert scientific panels about the health risks of consuming trans fat. FDA gave industry three years to prove that the use of PHOs are safe or finalize product reformulations.

Manufacturers have been working for years to remove PHOs from their formulas. And it is not always easy. Replacing ingredients and maintaining consumers’ expectations for mouth feel and taste, in addition to shelf life requirements is often a trial and error process. If we can help streamline your reformulation work or the resulting label development to ensure compliance by the June 18, 2018 deadline, do let us know.

Bullseye: Only the Grocery Manufacturers Association (GMA) has submitted a food additive petition for the use of PHOs in select foods. The petition requests limited amounts of PHOs in specific foods, however it is the resulting level of trans fat in the food that is specified. A couple of examples from the long list are:

  • 0.15g trans fat per 100g in a frozen pizza formulation
  • 3.0g trans fat per 100g in shortening

FDA action on the GMA petition is currently pending. Check the Food Label Community on LinkedIn for updates.

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What’s News in the Food Label Community

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Answers to Your Important Questions

Q. I have noticed that there is incomplete nutrition labeling information about trans fat in the CFR. I am specifically looking for how to declare trans fat on the Nutrition Facts label. Do you know where I can access this information?
— M.G., Manufacturer, Minnesota

A. You are correct. The latest version of 21 CFR 101.9 (c) (2) (i) through (iv) omits saturated fat, trans fat, polyunsaturated fat and monounsaturated fat. References to these nutrients are included in other sections of the CFR but they are mistakenly omitted from these sections. FDA is aware of this error and their staff is "working with the publishers to get the information corrected." When that occurs, FDA will post an announcement on the website. More Reader Q+As

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